"Living without color is like living without love." A brief observation of the designs of interior designer Kelly Wearstler (Mirtle Beach, South Carolina, USA, 1967) is enough to know who is the author of this sentence. As a small girl, she accompanied her mother, an antiques dealer, to fairs and auctions and soon began to develop a curious and therefore attentive look. At the age of 18 he left for Boston, where he studied graphic design and architecture at Massachusetts College of Art. In 1994, he moved to Los Angeles to work in the film industry, more specifically in sets, but he realized early on that this was not his future . He served at restaurant tables to pay for his studies and support himself in LA, until he opened his company, Kelly Wearstler Interior Design, in 1995. The following year, real estate developer Brad Korzen asked him to decorate a room for Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. The project was a success. The rest of the hotel spaces followed, and since then, both have completed 10 hotel projects. This happy partnership does not end here. In 2002, they married and have two children, Oliver and Elliot, born in 2003 and in 2004. Wearstler's imaginative and, above all, diversified work contributed to increase the list of clients and today, in addition to hotels and other well-known projects, such as the BG Restaurant created in the exquisite Bergdorf Goodman warehouses in New York in 2006 also has private customers and, among them, some celebrities.
Kelly Wearstler confesses to being passionate about fashion. The fearless attitude and the eclectic style that characterize his work are also reflected in his presentation. He started collecting vintage clothes, at the age of 15, and is true to his identity and choices. They say that his genius is the ability to make mixes and he assumes that all this work is very intuitive. The Kelly Wearstler brand is based in Los Angeles and is much more than the decoration studio, as it has ranges of its own products, such as pieces of furniture, decoration, textiles and wallpaper. This creative has been awarded and also distinguished by leading publications such as Time, Vogue and Architectural Digest, and The New York Times. He is also one of the talents to teach at Masterclass.com. In 2007, the Wearstler-Korzen couple acquired the home of Albert Broccoli, producer of films and films from the 007 saga, which became the family home in Beverly Hills. In her most recent book, Kelly Wearstler: Evocative Style (Rizzoli), the interior designer opens the doors of the newly redecorated house, as well as presenting a series of recent projects. The book is signed by herself and by Rima Suqi, content creator and copywriter for luxury brands and publications. This is the fifth book and the first in a decade. Kelly Wearstler told Máxima what makes her work so special.
It is often described as fearless in relation to color, eclecticism, textures … How do you know when a project is finished?
The design is largely intuitive to me. Each project, be it a hotel, a piece of furniture or a collection of fabrics, is explored with the same process of curiosity, experimentation and passion. I always say that you need to know the rules before breaking them. I think it is important to put into practice the lessons that have been learned to continue to evolve. A project is known to be done when you feel it is right.
Explain a little about your creative work process.
For me, (interior) design is storytelling. I want to tell a story that is adventurous and full of soul on all scales. I first look at history, location and architecture and try to honor them, but pushing the boundaries at the same time. My process is largely intuitive. A work of art, an amazing rug or a special vintage piece, anything that makes people feel something, is fertile ground for building the rest of the vibe. Architecture and the external environment are also important when considering a space. The windows are like framed pieces of art that bring elements and colors from the outside into the interior. I make inspiration boards for each room as part of my process. Arranging all the elements, textures and colors of a space within a single board helps to visualize the general balance and the cohesive dialogue.
How do you maintain a curious look and an amazing job?
Being fearless, taking risks and following my continuous curiosity is what guides the evolution and refinement of my aesthetics, philosophy and design development. I am inspired by so many incredible artists, art forms, eras of history, textures, patterns, materials … It is truly endless. Working with artists and artisans from around the world is very inspiring. I learn a lot from them and it broadens my horizons, and makes me a better designer. I am so grateful to spend each day doing something I love. Design is the meeting point of all my passions.
Kelly herself is a source of inspiration. Is there a relationship between your fashion choices and your work as a designer?
Thank you! I love fashion and it is a great inspiration for my work as a designer and vice versa. I dress a lot in the way I create interiors. My aesthetics has always been around mixology – the juxtaposition of contemporary and classic, male and female, raw and refined. Important vintage points and historical references with soul give a lot of spirit to a space. I believe that this also applies to personal style. Design is an expression of identity, as is fashion …
Kelly Wearstler: Evocative Style is the first book in 10 years. Tell us about the concept of the book and why did you decide to show your own home?
"My new book Evocative Style (Rizzoli) is a collection of design stories that have not yet been told and beautiful photographs of my most recent projects. I have always said that my clients were my muse, with each environment truly distinctive and a reflection of my continuous evolution and refinement of my aesthetics, philosophy and design development. Each project was personal, unique and represented an opportunity to share my various passions. One of my favorite aspects of design is its unpredictable nature and publishing this course as it develops is very exciting for me.
I included my family's house in the book because it is my creative laboratory where I develop and refine my design sensibilities and solve pieces by artisans and artists that I discover, and that I fall in love with every day. The reinvented residence, originally built in 1926 and which has a great Hollywood history, is curated based on a global set of unique and important pieces of furniture and art. "
I read that you spent holidays in Portugal recently. Did you take any inspiration from the Portuguese capital with you?
Yes, I loved Lisbon. It is such a creative and inventive city and the people are extraordinary. There was so much history and modernity together. I discovered this beautiful collection of vintage Portuguese tiles (Cortiço & Netos) that was perfect for one of my design projects, the new Austin Proper hotel. I applied a selection of original tiles from the 1960s to a custom mosaic wall in the hotel's restaurant. It was a very cool souvenir…